Longtime friends Nirja Sharma and Rupak Rauniar are combining their professional experience in finance, marketing and franchising to open the only Wireless Zone retail space in Houston proper.
Nirja comes from a banking and finance background while her partner Rupak is a professor at the University of Houston-Clear Lake as well as a multi-unit franchisee with Double Dave's Pizza. Now, they'll combine their experience to open a Wireless Zone store near the university.
The two have big expansion plans and Houston is a top development market for the nearly 400 unit Wireless Zone brand. 1851 had a chance to catch up with Nirja to learn more about how the two got involved with the brand.
Tell us a little bit about your background.
I have been in Houston since 2003, and before that I lived in Dallas and Florida. I completed my bachelor’s degree in accounting with a minor in finance at the University of Houston and worked in the banking industry, including 6 years as a private banker for JP Morgan Chase. Before that I did work for an indirect dealer of T-Mobile phones and managed several stores. My partner, Rupak, has been in Houston for eight years, after moving from Mississippi. He has a PHD and teaches marketing at the University of Houston- Clear Lake.
Why did you choose to become a franchisee with Wireless Zone? How did you learn about the brand?
We were looking into starting a business and my husband and business partner attended the franchising expo in Houston. We initially were looking into a restaurant concept, as my partner already owns several pizza franchises, but when it came down to the investment opportunity there are so many licenses and regulations in the industry that we started to look at other concepts as well.
They met Keith from Wireless Zone at the expo and started doing some research on the brand. We found that Wireless Zone is an established company, and a really great investment.
What’s next for you and your business? Do you have any development or expansion plans with the brand?
We hope to open a couple new locations in the next few years. We’d like to eventually have at least three stores with Wireless Zone.